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After reading Kathryn Yu's laundry list of recommended dishes on my last entry about Grand Sichuan, we made plans to go back the next week and do things right. And by "do things right" I mean "order loads of food." Unexpectedly, my favorite dish ended up being vegetarian and mostly raw.

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Cold cucumber and scallion sauce, where have you been all my life? It's no wonder that so many people recommended this plate of raw cucumber nubs doused in frighteningly vibrant green scallion sauce to me—it's full of addictive, fresh, crunchy goodness. But I wasn't drawn to it for its heat-quelling properties; I would happily eat the cucumber with a bowl of rice, mostly because of the crack-like addictive qualities of the oil and scallion-based sauce. The magical sauce.

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Photograph from Greg Takayama

You think I'm kidding? After all the cucumber nubs had disappeared into our bellies I poured the final green dregs into my bowl of rice, to the horror of my table mates. If someone can't give me a recipe for the sauce, I might just have to buy a bucket of it from the restaurant the next time I go there.

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Of course, there was plenty of meat involved in our meal. Gui zhou spicy chicken provided the sharply spicy poultry.

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Smoked tea duck provided the non-spicy, fat-laden poultry.

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And fried beef with cumin provided the thin, crispy beef strips infused with cumin. Lots of cumin.

Still, the most memorable part for me was the cucumber because of its deliciousness and the funny looks my friends gave me for being thisclose to licking its serving dish.

Grand Sichuan

23 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY 10003 (b/n 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue; map)
212-529-4800
Multiple locations listed at thegrandsichuan.com‎

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